The United States was already speculating way back in 2000 that Emmerson Mnangagwa could become President Robert Mugabe’s successor after Mugabe brought Mnangagwa back from political oblivion when he lost his Kwekwe seat to a novice Movement for Democratic Change politician but was appointed to the powerful post of Speaker of Parliament.
It quoted one political analyst as saying that Mnangagwa could become an even worse dictator than Mugabe if he became president.
Mnangagwa was demoted to Minister of Rural Housing when he fell out with Mugabe before being elevated to Minister of Defence when he rescued Mugabe from the 2008 election defeat and was shifted to Justice which he still holds together with the vice-presidency.
Below is the full cable released by Wikileaks on 30 August 2011.
CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL IRVING FOR REASONS:
1.5 (B) AND (D).
1. (C) SUMMARY: PRESIDENT MUGABE'S NEW ZANU-PF POLITBURO, APPOINTED DECEMBER 15 AT THE SPECIAL PARTY CONGRESS (REF B), STRENGTHENS SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT EMMERSON MNANGAGWA'S POSITION IN THE PARTY AND COULD SIGNAL MUGABE'S INTENTION TO MAKE MNANGAGWA HIS SUCCESSOR. SINCE JUNE'S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS, MNANGAGWA HAS BEEN BROUGHT BACK FROM THE BRINK OF POLITICAL EXTINCTION AFTER LOSING HIS LEGISLATIVE SEAT.
THE NEW POLITBURO ALSO EFFECTIVELY MARGINALIZES THE NDEBELE AND MANICA ETHNIC GROUPS, TWO GROUPS INCREASINGLY VIEWED IN THE PARTY AS SYMPATHETIC TO THE OPPOSITION MDC, ACCORDING TO ONE LOCAL POLITICAL OBSERVER. MNANGAGWA, WIDELY FEARED AND DESPISED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, COULD BE AN EVEN MORE REPRESSIVE LEADER IF HE TURNS OUT TO BE MUGABE'S ANNOINTED ONE.
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